The Treasury Department announced Monday that it's extending the deadline for investment firms to apply to participate in the Geithner Plan -- the Public-Private Investment Program.
The stated reason for the extension, according to a Treasury statement, is to "better accommodate increased participation." Treasury spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter, however, said the statement should not be read as a signal that Treasury was having difficulty finding participants because the program is not yet "up and running." The Geithner Plan intends to subsidize firms who agree to purchase what it calls "Legacy Assets," also known as toxic assets.
The purpose of the extension, she said, is to broaden participation to more diverse financial-sector players. Responding to pressure from some members of Congress, the plan gives more of an opportunity to veteran, minority- and women-owned firms, but requires they partner with private asset managers.
"I remain concerned that even under the updated guidelines, the burden remains on minority- and women-owned businesses to find willing partners among a select group of very large asset managers who do not have a particular incentive to welcome their assistance," said Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).
The Treasury statement also said that the department "will consider opening the program to Fund Managers that are not selected in the initial pre-qualification process," which would further expand the field of participants.
Institutions now have until April 24th to apply.